I'm back with another episode of "What the Suns!?" where we track and collect every and anything we can about what our Phoenix Suns players are doing during the off-season and especially now during the lockout! In today's episode we're going to dive into the hectic and fluid meanderings of Steve Nash - the face of the franchise.
Steve is a basketball god. He's omniscient on the court having led the league in assists for the past two years even at age 53, he's omnipotent in the pick and roll and from basically anywhere on the court when his pelvic instability isn't flaring up - and the fool is omnipresent on and off the court. HE'S EVERYWHERE. I doubt Steve sleeps. One minute he's in New York hosting some charity event, the next he's playing basketball at a local street park in Phoenix, and then all of sudden he's having the Mayor of Winnipeg hand him a key to the city and then later that night he's running in a speedo on the beach in San Diego. Although that last part might be a fabrication of imagination the general point is true. Steve is a busy man.
So let's take a look at the things he's been doing - I've broken it down like usual. We'll take a look at what he's doing for basketball, for charity and for fun or whatever else. But since there is so much info on Steve, it's going to be more of a link dump. Enjoy.
"I really want to set myself up so I have options in fields that I’m passionate about for when I'm not playing basketball anymore" - Steve's got a ton of endorsement work that he does... but he's been busy this summer growing his own babies.
On an extremely slanted side note... not sure what to make of this as a Phoenix Suns fan - women are tricky things my young friends of the Bright Side, and you experienced guys know what I'm talking about. He's recently divorced... and this girl is something like 15 years younger than Steve, as a Bro, I say "nice". As a fan worried about his team I say, this could be bad news. Maybe you don't know where I'm going with this so let me be blunt. Where is Steve at emotionally. I'm not talking about what he shows us, I'm talking about in his head, the underbelly of human existence, the dark depths of introspection.
Am I the only one who's noticed that since his divorce Steve has been a bit more of a loose canon and a party animal? I mean in his post-game interviews last season there were times where he was more open and blunt with his feelings than we've grown accustomed to over the years. It's usually been a mellow Nash with a low monotonous cookie-cutter middle-of-the road response. More often that in the past we saw Nash viciously jawing at officials and demonstratively expressing his disgust with calls. Then we've got tweets about "Sunglasses and Advil. Last night was mad real." and about him hitting the club and whatnot. I wouldn't think twice about him living it up and partying all night if it weren't for a few things. 1) it's Steve Nash. 2) He's 37 years old with a bad back and some crazy thing called pelvic instability. Oh and P.S. - he's the best player on our team at 37 years old with a bad back and groinal problems. WTF.
I'm starting to wonder how that whole groin thing actually came about... but anyways, this rant is a lot longer than I originally intended so lets end it at that. I've got a crooked eye on you Brittany. I don't know how you correlate exactly to anything I've written in this paragraph but I'm hoping that sour smell I'm faintly smelling is just Boris Diaw eating a cold Taco Bell Chalupa that he found under the couch...
Here's a few of my hand-picked favorites.
Alright, well that's about all the Nash news I can handle because I'm starting to feel like a creepy stalker. If after reading this you are still craving more news about what Nash has been up to, please seek psychiatric help immediately.
Stay Tuned for the next episode of What the Suns!? - coming soon. Or whenever I feel like writing it. #Lockout
P.S. - this picture has to do with the poll question. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Phoenix was a serious underdog headed into this game and were down big early. They fought back with defense (gasp!) and the game came down to the wire.
WCF against either San Antonio or Minnesota starts Thursday.
If you missed this game on ESPN on Monday, and you have access to ESPN 3, do yourself a favor and watch at least the fourth quarter.
Phoenix Suns free agent small forward Grant Hill figures to have a few teams vying for his services once the NBA lockout ends and free agent signing period commences. The team that continues to be mentioned as a frontrunner should Hill choose to leave Phoenix is the Miami Heat. Most recently, HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy said this in a chat:
I’ve been told a few times this summer that Grant Hill wants to join a contender, and that there’s mutual interest in Miami. If he’s able to win a title, that would certainly help his case for the Hall of Fame, but I think he makes it regardless.
Hill made a telling statement in July after seeing Jason Kidd, the man with whom he shared rookie of the year honors in 1995, win a ring with the Dallas Mavericks: "You definitely want to win, especially when you see somebody you are kind of linked to and somebody you have known for many years get there. I don’t have too many more years left, so we have to wait and see. But it would be nice to do what [Kidd] was able to do this past season."
Before that statement from Hill in July, it was widely assumed among the Suns fanbase that he would finish his playing career in Phoenix. Suns owner Robert Sarver has announced his desire to re-sign Hill, and Hill's family resides in the Phoenix area. In addition, Hill's injury-riddled career has been rejuvenated in Phoenix, as the Suns training staff has worked its wonders, and he has been healthy enough to play in 313 out of a possible 328 regular season games in his four seasons in Phoenix.
It's easy to see why the Heat would be interested. Hill has been a bargain in his time with the Suns, providing leadership, strong defense and efficient if unspectacular offense, at the salary of only $10M total over four seasons. Last year, Hill averaged 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 30.1 minutes per game, and often was asked to guard the opposing team's biggest offensive threat, players ranging from Derrick Rose to Blake Griffin.
From the Suns viewpoint, Hill is a fan favorite, team leader, provides more value than his simple stats show and, I must restate, his salary has been beyond reasonable. His low salary demands also appeal to a Heat team that has precious little cap space.
I love Grant Hill, you love Grant Hill, everybody loves Grant Hill.
And yet still, the more I think about this, the more I think it might make sense for all involved if Hill went to the Heat. Why would a 39-year old player want to play out his career on a Suns team that's going nowhere? And, given the Suns' current situation, what do they want with an old role player at the end of his career? This is especially true when you consider that the Suns have Josh Childress and his similar skillset languishing on the bench with his large salary, ready to step in.
Before anyone throws out crazy trade scenarios of what we might get from the Heat in exchange for Hill, let me say again that Hill is a free agent. The choice will be his, and if he wants to leave, the Suns will get nothing in return but a small amount of salary cap space.
I'd also like to pre-emptively kibosh comparisons to the Steve Nash situation. While Nash and Hill are co-captains, and many Suns fans see them in the same glowing terms, Nash is possibly the greatest player in Suns history (definitely in the conversation, at least). He's a Suns legend. For all his qualities, Hill is not that. He's had a Hall of Fame career, but he's merely been a solid role player with the Suns. Watching Hill walk away would not be the same as watching Nash walk away, at least not in my eyes.
Should Grant Hill decide he'd like to stay in Phoenix and try to return the Suns to relevance, I'd be happy with that. Hill remains a solid contributor, and is one of the class acts ever to play in the NBA. However, if he decides to go to a contender such as the Heat, I'd understand and wouldn't be all that upset. He doesn't owe the Suns any more than what he has given the team, and I would tip my hat, thank him for his time as a Sun, and wish him well on his way out.
What would your reaction be if Grant Hill left the Suns to sign with the Heat?
Phoenix Suns fans are fairly unanimous in their distaste for Robert Sarver, managing partner of the team's ownership group. They feel, rightfully so, that Sarver's mismanagement and disloyalty has led to the disintegration of a proud franchise and championship-contending roster.
National media take potshots at Sarver whenever possible. Local media and fans too. Heck, even current players during a lockout!
Sarver appears to be a difficult boss. Some of the nicest guys in all of sports - heck, in all the world - have voluntarily walked away from their jobs in the past 18 months without even having a new job in place. Steve Kerr. David Griffin. Rick Welts. Going years back, you can add in Mike D'Antoni, Jerry Colangelo (senior advisor at the time) and Bryan Colangelo. Really wonderful people. All gone of their own accord.
And this while Sarver was a key voice in the decision to lock out players this summer while the NBA tries to totally change the NBA salary structure. For some reason, he was not a fan of losing money while some of his fellow owners made boatloads.
And now rumors have surfaced that Robert Sarver has continued stomping his foot and pounding the floor. If not for Sarver's meddling last week, commissioner David Stern would be publicly hugging union president Derek Fisher right now, the NBA would be back in business and players would be preparing for training camp.
Is it possible that players, front office staff and NBA executives could name a WORSE owner in the NBA, if a poll were taken right now? I doubt it.
Does Robert Sarver care that people don't like him? I doubt that either.
Before I go any further, let me set my own record straight. Regular readers probably believe that I'm a fan of Sarver. Of all the writers on this blog, I'm the one most likely to defend his latest decision. I agreed with the decision to offer Amare only partial guarantees in his contract. I agreed with the decision that the 2008 Suns were "stale" and that Marion was the most logical piece to move amongst Nash, Stoudemire, Bell, Barbosa, Diaw and him. And I agree that the current NBA system heavily favors the largest markets, leaving teams like the Suns praying for leftover scraps.
But I am not an apologist for Robert Sarver, the person. Neither am I a hater. I simply have no opinion of him as a person because I've never met him.
All we have to go on are the opinions of media, which by definition is third-hand knowledge. And that assumes the writer of the story had first-hand knowledge themselves, which is almost never the case. They have sources, who have sources. Which means that anything we read online is likely 5th or 6th-hand knowledge.
Ever play that game where you have people pass along a story by whispering it in the next person's ear? By the third or forth ear, the story has changed. Now if you factor in the personal motivations of each of those folks...
Case in point: all week, heck all summer, we've been under the impression that Robert Sarver would be a big fan of a hard salary cap. And even last week, he was supposedly the one who derailed an attempt by Stern and the players to keep the soft cap in place. Sarver wants a hard cap. Rich owners like Jerry Buss want a soft cap so they can monopolize talent. And Stern just wants the money to start rolling in again.
Makes total sense, right?
Well, read this article from NBA insider Chris Broussard over the weekend. He basically threw that whole notion out with the bath water.
This illustrates the complexity of the situation, and why the "large-markets-are-doves/small-markets-are-hawks’’ equation doesn’t work. For instance, while it’s long been reported that Phoenix’s Robert Sarver is a hawk, two sources close to the situation insist he’s one of the biggest doves in the ownership ranks.
According to multiple "sources", the owners are close to agreeing on a massive increase to revenue sharing, yet still want a hard cap before they implement it.
Is it possible that Sarver has insisted/negotiated on the revenue-sharing part, but it's the big-market owners (who would do most of the "giving" side of the sharing) who want a hard cap in order to further increase profits before giving it away to guys like Sarver and Michael Jordan?
The reason for this seeming contradiction is related to the enhanced revenue-sharing system the league will implement. The big-market owners will bear the brunt of the new system and, according to sources, some of them are adamant about having a hard cap so that if they must share revenues, they’ll have more money from which to pull.
"The big markets want to revenue share but not with their current profits,’’ one of the sources said. "Instead, they want to share from the profit they would get from a harder cap.’’
After all this time, is it possible that our assumptions regarding Sarver's motives were totally wrong? Uh, probably not. He wants to make money, just like Buss and Cuban.
But our assumptions of how exactly he's going about it are probably complete conjecture.
Heck, even local media are forgetting reality in their articles to condemn Sarver:
...the only thing small market about Phoenix is Sarver, who paid a fortune for the team and won't suffer significant short-term losses to win a championship.
That is total BS. Phoenix is, at best, the 12th largest revenue market in the league. And when did it suddenly become cool to bash Sarver for spending too much money to buy the team? That's like bashing me and millions of other people for spending too much on my mortgage before the housing bubble burst. It's okay to bash Sarver - just use real facts when doing so.
If I take the person out of the equation, I am left with this understanding:
Check out this wonderful article by Andrew Brandt, a former NFL front-office person who now is a widely respected writer.
As with the NFL collective bargaining negotiations, the overriding issue is the split of revenue, from which all other issues flow. Despite the rhetoric, the two sides are moving closer on the most important item on the checklist. Three weeks from a real deadline, that is significant and should not be minimized.
As with any negotiation of this magnitude, much like the NFL, the devil is in the details. The NBA is insistent on a hard cap, or at least a significantly harder cap, as a way to achieve profitability off the court and competitive balance on it. Thus, in the NBA's view, the hard cap primarily affects both distribution of talent and distribution of money.
Brandt compares the NBA model with the NFL and NHL models, and firmly believes that the latter models are stronger for the league AND not as worrisome for players as you might think.
The NBPA's position is that were a hard cap instituted, non-marquee players would have to accept lower salaries and nonguaranteed contracts. This may be true, but it would depend on a few factors. Were the salary floor raised along with the cap ceiling, lower-budget teams, which will always struggle to attract superstar talent, would be forced to pay much more than they do now. This would flow through to the entire league, not just the upper echelon of players.
Right. A hard cap coupled with a hard floor would keep NBA players in business. Shorter deals with buyout clauses would help owners get out of cap-killers (the NHL now has 1/3 or 2/3 buyout clauses, depending on years in league, in every contract).
Look, no one likes Robert Sarver. And he very well might be the worst owner in sports. And after getting what he wants - more cash, hard salary ceilings - he will probably still screw up the Suns' future.
But you have to recognize this: Robert Sarver is not afraid of putting a target on his back to fight for what he wants. He reportedly is fighting tooth and nail to give himself a level playing field with the other NBA franchises. By doing so, he is taking away the built-in excuse for losing.
At that point, all the blame would rightfully belong on his shoulders, where it currently resides anyway.